Title: The Unround Circle
Author: Pete Bellotte
Page Count/Review Word Count: 394
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
Well, you don’t often see a book like this! Let’s begin with the author – Pete Bellotte is a super successful songwriter and producer, who wrote songs which appeared on ten different Donna Summer albums, including Hot Stuff, which I happen to be able to play on guitar. His songs have been featured in major movies and been covered by artists as diverse as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyonce and Madonna.
This book is essentially a collection of his short stories, and I was a little hesitant to begin with – after all, it’s a big collection, and it takes some commitment to read it. I was worried that this was just going to be some guy who was cashing in on a moderate level of fame to release a collection of sub-standard stories.
Boy, was I wrong. Bellotte’s short stories are reminiscent of the work of Graham Greene, at least to me – that might be because the first collection of short stories that I really fell in love with was a collection of Greene’s work, but there’s definitely something in Bellotte’s style which reminds me of classic authors. That can only be a good thing, right?
Another interesting thing about this collection is that, when different stories are told by different narrators, you really feel as though they were written by different people – in that respect, this sometimes feels more like a collection of stories by different authors than a series written by one man. Bellotte is also very good at capturing ‘shady‘ characters, people with questionable motives who aren’t particularly likeable – Irvine Welsh does the same thing to great effect, and the technique works just as well here.
If you’re a fan of short stories then you’re sure to like this, whatever genre you’re interested in – I’d peg this as literary fiction, even though I hate that term, but there are influences from other genres creeping in, too. And then, there’s the way in which the stories end – it’s often sublime, and they always tie up all of the loose ends. It makes for a gripping read, and if you’re like me then you’ll power through.